Five years ago, I was with a girl. We were sexually irresponsible, and she became pregnant. I was horrified at the thought of having a child with her, so I told her to get an abortion. She did. I didn’t know what a horrible thing I was doing at the time. In my next relationship, the girl I was with refused to let me use protection, wouldn’t be on the pill or even let me pull out. I thought she wanted my baby, so I gave her one. Then, she had an abortion. She left me alone, rejected and confused, just like the first girl felt when I left her. I struggle daily with anger and forgiveness. I can’t even focus enough to do simple things like hold a job or have a steady place to live.
Depression and anger are common responses to relationships that have been sexual but not intimate; human beings require emotional intimacy. However, you cannot continue to abort your own life as penance for the abortion. One life-giving path out of this chaos is to learn from your choices. If you were horrified at the thought of having a child with the first woman, why did you have sex with her? When I teach courses in sexuality and spirituality to teenage girls, I teach them how to identify the qualities that make a man a good father. If you’re having pre-marital sex with a guy, I say, that means you’ve decided that he would be a good father and life partner. After all, every time you have sex, you risk becoming pregnant. The same is true for men. You’ve chosen someone who is a good mother and life partner. (Yes, this translates for same-sex partnerships.) That’s why sex belongs within the context of an intimate, committed relationship. It has emotional, spiritual, mental, physical and financial consequences that can bond you to another person for life.
Being irresponsible about pregnancy prevention is a symptom of addiction to the adrenaline produced by risky behavior. Never use sex or children—“I thought that she wanted my baby, so I gave her one”—as hooks to force or reinforce commitment. In an intimate, committed relationship, the couple makes decisions together. Not: You decide to “give” her a baby, and she decides to end its life. Counseling can help you to forgive yourself and move into the healthy relationship you clearly desire.
I am a 17-year-old student from Illinois who was deeply hurt by someone. After a year of anger and pain, I have forgiven her, and I am surprised to conclude that she is everything to me: my heart and true friend. Now, I think I have fallen in love with her. I am actually physically weak around her. What am I to do?
When we enter forgiveness with an open heart, loving feelings arise for the one who caused our suffering because we see their fragile humanness and release the one-dimensional monster we believed them to be. Reconciliation (coming back together) traditionally follows forgiveness.
Was this a romantic relationship or a friendship with someone whom you now feel romantic toward? If the former, be careful not to rejoin an abusive cycle. Also, this person may have moved on emotionally, so don’t pin your future on her willingness to welcome you back. If the latter, the body’s memory of the pain you endured can inspire weakness. To know if it’s really love, I suggest that you talk openly with an adult whom you trust, perhaps a teacher or counselor.